You Are Worthy Of Transformation
Rector Chris Girata's latest article in the Katy Trail Weekly
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring how we can be transformed by goodness in our lives. Transformation is a gift, one that we often experience accidentally. Some people call that kind of experience a blessing. Calling the gift of transformation a blessing is just fine, but I like to think of it as more of a two-way street. Yes, we can be blessed with an opportunity, but we also need to be open to receiving the gift. We can resist goodness in the world if we choose, but I’m certainly glad many (perhaps most) choose to give and receive.
A few years ago, a man named Jonathan Palant wanted to help homeless members of the Dallas community, and so he used his talent as a musician to start the Dallas Street Choir. Each week on Wednesday mornings, Jonathan met in downtown Dallas with homeless adults to sing together. Very soon, Jonathan realized that this group of singers was something special and so he applied and was invited to bring the choir to sing at Carnegie Hall. And a summer ago, he and the choir made it to the Carnegie Hall stage.
Obviously, this story got a decent amount of media coverage, but it was when Jonathan appeared in an interview for the “Today Show” that the story caught my attention. In the interview, Hoda Kotb asked Jonathan to tell the story of the choir, an inspiring story of diversity and love, where people who had every reason to feel hopeless found hope in the kindness of a stranger. And although the story was beautiful, Kotb couldn’t help but ask the question I bet many people wanted to ask: Is the Dallas Street Choir good enough to sing at Carnegie Hall?
You knew someone would ask, right? It’s never quite good enough for people to simply show love and to be kind — there’s always someone waiting in the wings to make a judgment. I think we all know how it feels to try to do our best, perhaps to even act selflessly with love, only to be smacked in the face with the judgment and fear of the world. Yet, God tells us time and again: do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of pain or judgment, of even rejection, because behind any bad things the world may throw at us, rests the divine, present, never-failing love of God, a love for each one of us.
When Kotb asked Palant, “Is the Dallas Street Choir good enough to sing at Carnegie Hall?” Palant drew in a deep breath, and I imagine he was disappointed in the question. “They’re pretty good,” he said. Then Kotb pushed again, “Yes, but are they Carnegie Hall good?” Palant paused and then said, “They may not be Carnegie Hall good, but they’re Carnegie Hall worthy.”
Worth is a sticky subject. Countless people over the years have told me that they feel unworthy, that they don’t deserve love or kindness. Have you ever felt that way? I think our world makes it far too easy for us to believe that we aren’t worthy, but we are. Every time I hear someone say they aren’t worthy, I want to jump up and hug them and shake them and try to help them know just how much they are loved.
There is goodness all around. People like Palant and so many others have found their purpose, their vocation, in empowering and loving others. We are all worth that love, and we all know someone in our lives who needs to know their own worth. Each of us — even you — will have the opportunity today, tomorrow and beyond, to make sure someone knows that they are worthy of the kindness and love that we do not understand. I hope that you are ready to seize the moment to be courageous and to show someone else what they’re worth. And when you do, you will be reminded of that truth for you, too.
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